Deadly fires displace thousands in Langa

At least one thousand people are without homes in Langa, Cape Town after fire ravaged an informal settlement in the township over the weekend. The cause of the fire is still unknown. 

Three fires broke out in Langa’s Joe Slovo informal settlement on Saturday evening and were only extinguished around midnight. Thankfully no fatalities were recorded, but many people who spent the long weekend with family elsewhere returned to devastation. Gift of the Givers arrived on the scene with relief packages and food to support those affected. Many of those displaced are being housed in community halls or with family and friends, while they make plans to rebuild their lives. While fires in informal settlements are not uncommon, especially in Cape Town, they are devastating and affect the most vulnerable South Africans. One resident, Sipho Nylamki told News24:

“My neighbour doesn’t speak English, but has a 5-month-old baby that’s coming home on Tuesday with the mother, and they need a place to stay. It’s very sad but what can we do? We must just rebuild our homes again.”

Shortly after the fires broke out, DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille started another small fire  – this time on social media. Responding to the floods in KwaZulu-Natal during an interview on 702, she said that it was better to be poor in Langa, in the Western Cape, than it is to be poor anywhere else in the country, because of supposedly better service delivery. A tone-deaf comment, but nothing surprising at this point from the former Western Cape premier turned quasi alt-righter. 🙄

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 21 April  2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.

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